The Browns' $1 Million Gift
(Feb. 11, 2002)—New Lenox residents LaVerne (Bitz) and Dorothy (Dottie) Brown recently pledged $1 million to assist in the funding of Silver Cross Hospital’s Cardiovascular Institute, which will be located in the new $17 million 70,000 square foot, 4-story Specialty Care Pavilion adjacent to the hospital. The Specialty Care Pavilion is scheduled to open in Spring 2003.
“We have always believed in Silver Cross Hospital’s mission to provide quality health care services to our community,” said Dottie Brown. “And now, we are fortunate to the have the opportunity to help fight heart disease through our investment in developing the new Cardiovascular Institute at Silver Cross.”
As a way of thanking the Browns, the hospital will name the new comprehensive cardiac center, the LaVerne and Dorothy Brown Cardiovascular Institute. The facility will improve, customize and streamline the hospital’s cardiac services into one convenient location. Currently outpatient cardiac care at Silver Cross is in diverse locations throughout the hospital. Not only is this inconvenient for the patient, but it also fragments the patient’s care. Centralizing these services enables physicians, clinicians and the hospital to more effectively focus the delivery of cardiac care in a cohesive, consistent, cost effective and high quality manner.
The LaVerne and Dorothy Brown Cardiovascular Institute will include a cardiac rehabilitation center with an indoor walking track and a three-phase exercise program; a Cardiac angiography center featuring a state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization laboratory; a non-invasive diagnostic and testing center; disease management clinics and a cardio-pulmonary education center.
“Bitz and Dottie realize that heart disease is the number one killer in the country as well as in Will County,” said Paul Pawlak, President and CEO of Silver Cross Hospital. “We are grateful for their generosity and investment in advancing heart care for our patients and the community.”
The Browns have been longtime residents and service-minded leaders in the greater Joliet area for over 75 years. Both Bitz and Dottie were born in Joliet. In 1947, Bitz and his partner, Paul Lambrecht, founded Brown and Lambrecht Earthmovers with a bulldozer, a dump truck and a vision. Bitz retired in 1986. The business was turned over to Lambrecht’s son, Tom, who still operates the multi-million dollar company today.
In addition to being a successful businessman, Bitz has volunteered his time for a variety of local organizations. He’s served as chairman and member of the Board of Trustees for the University of St. Francis and the President’s Council at Lewis University. He has also been active in the Joliet Rotary Club, Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Arbitration and Conciliation Board of the Joliet Diocese, Area 3 Boy Scouts of America and the Board of the St. Patrick’s Retirement Home.
Volunteering definitely runs in the Brown family. Dottie has given countless hours serving as a member of the Silver Cross Foundation’s Board of Directors. She is a chairman of the hospital’s Caring Club which raises funds for cardiac services. In addition, Dottie has been a member of the Childerguild for over 50 years. Their primary mission is to support women’s and children’s services at Silver Cross. Dottie is also an active member of the Joliet Area Community Hospice and Women of Rotary.
Both Dottie and Bitz are actively involved in leading the renovation of the Bird Haven Greenhouse at Joliet Park District’s Pilcher Park and as members of the Third Order of the Sisters of St. Francis. They are members of St. John’s Catholic Church in Joliet.
In 1996, Bitz was awarded the honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of St. Francis. Both Bitz and Dottie are also the recipients of the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s 1999 Rabbi Hershman Community Service Award as well as the Silver Cross 2001 George E. Sangmeister Medal of Excellence honoring them for their leadership and community service.
Although Bitz and Dottie Brown spend the majority of their time giving back to the community through volunteering, Bitz manages to sneak in a game of golf as well as travel in his own plane throughout the country. He is an accomplished pilot with nearly 7,000 flight hours under his belt.
Plans for the dedication ceremony for the LaVerne and Dorothy Brown Cardiovascular Institute will coincide with its opening in Spring 2003. For more information, contact the Silver Cross Foundation at (815) 740-7105.